The other day at brunch, my tastebuds felt playful– I ordered a salad of brussel sprouts, pickled cranberries, shaved fennel, and pecorino cheese, and a side of organic yukon mashers. The salad, albeit unconventional for a typical “Brunch” dish, was exactly the size I needed. The mashers on the other hand? I got enough to feed me, my date, and have a full box of leftovers.
Looks like I’ll have to play a little game I call “Parmentier”.
Parmentier (Par-meant-ee-ah) – a traditional French dish prepared in a casserole dish consisting of cooked protein on the bottom, mashed potatoes on the top, and served warm. There are a several things I love about this dish:
1. It is versatile. For the topping, you can use anything from regular mashed potatoes to mashed sweet potatoes to mashed cauliflower if your heart desires.
2. It is naturally gluten-free. Potatoes are free of gluten and the protein of choice is up to you, so you have no need to even think about modifying for lurking allergens.
3. It is high in protein and fiber. Protein from the meat, fish, or legumes at the bottom, and fiber and minerals from the potatoes on top!
4. It is filling without being stuffing. The combination and texture of the soft-but-crisped potatoes on top leave you satiated, but not overflowing, so you really can have that one dish and a side green and call it a main course!
5. It is undeniably tasty. You need no preface of gluten or dairy-free on this dish. Serve it to everyone from fat Grandpa to slender Susie.
To make a Parmentier, sear your protein of choice in a saute’ pan for a 3-4 minutes on each side to get some nice browning going on (I recommend Italian sausage, already-braised beef, white fish, cooked vegetarian chili or beans, salmon, seasoned chicken, lamb, or tender pork) and place in an even layer on the bottom of a casserole dish. (Use about 1/4 pound meat per serving). To re-heat old mashed potatoes (or cauliflower) heat 1/4 cup water for every 1 cup potato in a saute’ pan, and mash in potatoes until they are all warm and now spreadable (but not runny!) Spread potatoes over top of seared meat in casserole dish, and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, or until top of potatoes are golden-browned and bottom meat is cooked through.